Paul’s Blog – Part Thirteen

Before I bore you & you stop reading a couple of points for the diary.

Firstly this Saturday sees Eryri Harriers host the latest round of the North Wales Cross Country (XC) at Bangor. As I write this I am sure that Becki Law is marshalling her troops be they runners, cake bakers, helpers & supporters, if you want to turn up & cheer us on as we plough our way around a muddy track (yesterday’s rain will have now made this doubly inevitable) simply go to the Eryri Harriers web-site for more details. It’ll be only my 2nd XC race, my memory recalls the first at Wrexham 2 years ago being particularly hard work & very muddy but it’s speed work I’m after so this is a great way to both return a favour owed to Becki & get my plans for 2018 off to a kick start.

Saturday evening will see our next Open MIC Night hosted as ever by Alan Mannouch, with the cold dark winter nights firmly upon us why not record Strictly & spend a night with us in a relaxed atmosphere, more details on our Events page.

Now a race report on last Saturday’s Penmaenmawr race, it was WET underfoot, the bog didn’t disappoint but as far as I’m aware we all got out of it one way or the other, so here is what happened from my point of view.

As ever this classic end of season saw a great turnout & many familiar faces at the start line, here I made my first mistake. Feeling less competitive than normal (here I mean frame of mind rather than physical abilities) I made no effort to start near the front, within moments of Chris Near completing his very humorous pre-race briefing I was regretting this with frustration. A serious log jam climbing the road already made any chance of a decent time negligible. From here things began to improve but I was unable to pass Richard Borne, my mind telling me ‘come on Paul you normally can’, in this instance I definitely couldn’t!

At last we reached the trig point & turned back towards the infamous bog, my mind still asking me ‘why, why, why’. It was wetter than usual which is saying something, it is approximately 1 mile wide & increasingly saps the legs as you try to push off against little resistance but over halfway through it I had escaped the worst of it’s clutches but then it happened. Richard was 5 metres ahead, yelled & plunged in up to his waist, I looked right & left, there were no options, legs sank, no bottom, survival instinct saw me dive head first to spread my weight, arms stretched, hummocks grasped I slowly pulled myself to safety. Wet, cold & clearly in shock I couldn’t run for the next 5 minutes as I trudged forlornly through the remaining bog & up & over the next climb.

Slowly by body settled, I began to run having amazingly only lost two places, no doubt many of the runners behind suffered at least Richard’s fate but hopefully not mine.

You like me might well ask why, well here’s the answer. The second half of the race went from terrible to great, Kean & Sandra out in the middle of nowhere cheering us on, Judy smiling at the 2nd Marshall point calling out ‘Paul you look like a Parachute’, not flattering but memorable, she has been reprimanded & almost took it without offering justification…., & to cap these my legs started turning at last.

The long run back is a classic, I finally got past Richard & improved a couple of other places too, reaching the final steep descent my new Mudclaws gripped un-believably well, I was enjoying every moment. Then crossing the line Rebecca Roberts & her Mum & Dad gave me a loud cheer, this is what it’s all about, remember the good & learn from the bad. 65th out of 202 wasn’t bad despite my time being well down on previous years. As I told Stuart MacDonald of my boggy experience Chris Near’s face appeared a bit ashen (there were still a lot out on the course), he had put a Marshall nearly in the right place, probably just a lost in translation issue & of course we are running at our risk.

Thanking Rebecca afterwards I was delighted that her brother, Eryri’s Richie Roberts, had narrowly won ahead of the ever fast Gareth Hughes, well done Richie!

Both Adrian Williams & Richie later advised of an alternative line which misses the worse of the bog so message to memory, next year recce, but not alone!

Sunday saw me talking to John & Marion about a new possible walk for the Cafe to offer, on a beautiful day thoughts turned once again to running, why not go & recce some of it. Needing no excuse to escape an increasingly busy Cafe I was soon changed & running out the door. Cwm Idwal, Llyn Ogwen, The Old Road all came & went but I baulked at the Reservoir Road & the Leat making up for it slightly by sticking to the final loop up & behind Capel. Almost 3 hours later with 17 miles under my belt I walked into the Cafe with a smile on my face. After a quick shower the smile disappeared as I cleared tables for 2 hours on increasingly heavy legs, sadly the least I could do to make up for being AWOL again. This was a recovery run to beat all others or maybe I just hadn’t tried hard enough in that bog?

This week has seen me get carried away with race entries for 2018, if all goes well before the first half of the year is gone I will have done my 1st 10K (yes 1st), 3 Half Marathon’s, 2 Marathon’s & my 1st Ultra race plus no doubt the odd fell race or 6. There are some serious goals within this but most off all it is just about being out & about, the best drug man has ever created.

Hope to see you at Bangor together with Gaby’s & Dorina’s Cake.

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